Optical Fiber

Optical Fiber Research at I2R

Lim Jun Long has been researching on optical fiber since 2010 at Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R). His areas of focus include, but not limited to,

  • the design, fabrication and testing of optical fiber sensor, specialty fiber, fiber optics components, and
  • the data acquisition and analysis for optical fiber, etc.


(Updated: 05 Nov 2019 08:00PM)

This page introduces the key elements to understanding optical fibers and it's current research. Optical fibers, also known as fiber optics, are thin strands of glass thread which has the diameter of a human hair. Typical thickness of optical fiber is 0.125 mm (125 µm) without any protective coating. Usually optical fibers available commercially are 0.256 mm (256 µm) in diameter with primary protective layer. For typical deployment using optical fiber cable, secondary protective layer increases the diameter of optical fiber to 0.9 mm or 3 mm.

Optical Fiber

Types of Optical Fiber

  • Single mode fiber
  • Multimode fiber
    • Step index fiber
    • Gradient index fiber
  • Specialty fiber
    • Photonic Crystal Fiber (PCF)
      • Solid core PCF
      • Hollow core PCF
      • Non-linear PCF
      • n-core PCF
    • Bragg fiber


  1. Communication
  2. Sensor
  3. Power delivery
  4. Decoration

Historical Development

  • 1954 - John Tyndall demonstrated that light could travel through a curved stream of water thereby proving that a light signal could be bent
  • 1961 - Elias Snitzer published a theoretical description of single mode fibers whose core would be so small it could carry light with only one wave-guide mode
  • 1964 - Charles Kao and George Hockham published a paper demonstrating, theoretically, that light loss in existing glass fibers could be decreased dramatically by removing impurities
  • 1970 - Corning Glass Works made single mode fibers with attenuation less then 20dB/km
  • 1991 - Desurvire and Payne demonstrated optical amplifiers that were built into the fiber-optic cable itself

Fiber Optics Research Publication

Highly cited Optical Fiber Books

This section highlights some of the most well known books for optical fiber. For optical fiber sensor's book, please look in the book section of Fiber Optics Sensors.

Keiser, Gerd (2003, Apr. 15). Optical Fiber Communications. Wiley Online Library. DOI: 10.1002/0471219282.eot158

  • Abstract: Optical fibers are used extensively for data transmission systems because of their dielectric nature and their large information‐carrying capacity. Network architectures using multiple wavelength channels per optical fiber are utilized in local, metropolitan, or wide‐area applications to connect thousands of users having a wide range of transmission capacities and speeds. A powerful aspect of an optical communication link is that many different wavelengths can be sent along a fiber simultaneously in the 1300‐to‐1600‐ nm spectrum. The technology of combining a number of wavelengths onto the same fiber is known as wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). The concept of WDM used in conjunction with optical amplifiers has resulted in communication links that allow rapid communications between users in countries all over the world.

Yariv, Amnon (1991, May 31). Optical electronics (4th ed.). New York, United States, Oxford University Press.

  • Abstract: This classic text introduces engineering students to the first principles of major phenomena and devices of optoelectronics and optical communication technology. Yariv's "first principles" approach employs real-life examples and extensive problems. The text includes separate chapters on quantum well and semiconductor lasers, as well as phase conjugation and its applications. Optical fiber amplification, signal and noise considerations in optical fiber systems, laser arrays and distributed feedback lasers all are covered extensively in major sections within chapters.
  • Purchase book via Amazon.com
  • Read more via Google book

Highly Cited Optical Fiber Research

A non-exhaustive list of highly cited and influential research papers on optical fiber.

K. O. Hill, Y. Fujii, D. C. Johnson, and B. S. Kawasaki, "Photosensitivity in optical fiber waveguides: Application to reflection filter fabrication," Appl. Phys. Lett. (APL), vol. 32, no. 10, pp. 647, 1978. DOI: 10.1063/1.89881

  • Abstract: The observation of photosensitivity in Ge‐doped core optical fibers is reported. The photosensitivity is manifested by light‐induced refractive‐index changes in the core of the waveguide. Narrowband reflectors in a guide structure have been fabricated using this photosensitivity and the resulting DFB reflectors employed as laser mirrors in a cw gas laser in the visible.
  • Citation: 3K+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 34 Highly Influenced Papers

Knight, T. A. Birks, P. St. J. Russell, and D. M. Atkin, "All-silica single-mode optical fiber with photonic crystal cladding," Optics Letters (OL), vol. 21, no. 19, pp. 1547-1549, 1996. DOI: 10.1364/OL.21.001547

  • Abstract: We report the fabrication of a new type of optical waveguide: the photonic crystal fiber. It consists of a pure silica core surrounded by a silica–air photonic crystal material with a hexagonal symmetry. The fiber supports a single robust low-loss guided mode over a very broad spectral range of at least 458–1550 nm.
  • Errata at vol. 22, no. 7, pp. 484-485, 1996. DOI: 10.1364/OL.22.000484
  • Citation: 2.9K+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 48 Highly Influenced Papers

Donna Strickland, and Gerard Mourou, "Compression of amplified chirped optical pulses," Optics Communications (OC), vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 219-221, Dec. 1985. DOI: 10.1016/0030-4018(85)90120-8

  • Summary: The paper reported the amplification and subsequent recompression of optical chirped pulses. The system produces 1.06 μm laser pulses with pulse widths of 2 ps and energies at the millijoule level.
  • Citation: 5.2k+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 90 Highly Influenced Papers

Vikram Bhatia, and Ashish M. Vengsarkar, "Optical fiber long-period grating sensors," Optics Letters (OL), vol. 21, no. 9, pp. 692-694, 1996. DOI: 10.1364/OL.21.000692

  • Abstract: We present a novel class of highly sensitive sensors based on long-period fiber gratings that can be implemented with simple and inexpensive demodulation schemes. Temperature, strain, and refractive-index resolutions of 0.65 °C, 65.75 μ∈, and 7.69 × 10−5, respectively, are demonstrated for gratings fabricated in standard telecommunication fibers .
  • Citation: 1.4k+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 30 Highly Influenced Papers

I. Hartl, X. D. Li, C. Chudoba, R. K. Ghanta, T. H. Ko, J. G. Fujimoto, J. K. Ranka, and R. S. Windeler, "Ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography using continuum generation in an air–silica microstructure optical fiber," Optics Letters (OL), vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 608-610, May 2001. DOI: 10.1364/OL.26.000608

  • Abstract: We demonstrate ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) using continuum generation in an air–silica microstructure fiber as a low-coherence light source. A broadband OCT system was developed and imaging was performed with a bandwidth of 370 nm at a 1.3‐𝜇m center wavelength. Longitudinal resolutions of 2.5 𝜇m in air and ∼2 𝜇m in tissue were achieved. Ultrahigh-resolution imaging in biological tissuein vivo was demonstrated.
  • Citation: 1.2k+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 7 Highly Influenced Papers

J.A. Salehi, "Code division multiple-access techniques in optical fiber networks. I. Fundamental principles," IEEE Transactions on Communications, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 824-833 , Aug. 1989. DOI: 10.1109/26.31181

  • Abstract: An examination is made of fiber-optic code-division multiple-access (FO-CDMA), a technique in which low information data rates are mapped into very-high-rate address codes (signature sequences) for the purpose of achieving random, asynchronous communications free of network control, among many users. The need for a special class of signature sequences to achieve the multiple-access capability using fiber-optic signal processing techniques is discussed. A class of signature sequences called optical orthogonal codes (OOCs) that provide the auto- and cross-correlation properties required for FO-CDMA is introduced and used in an experiment to show the principles of FO-CDMA. The experiment demonstrates the auto- and cross-correlation properties of the codes. The concept of optical disk patterns, an equivalent way of representing the OOCs, is introduced. The patterns are used to derive the probability density functions associated with any two interfering OOCs. A detailed study of different interference patterns is presented, and the strongest and the weakest interference patterns are determined .
  • Citation: 1.8k+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 102 Highly Influenced Papers

J.A. Salehi, and C.A. Brackett, "Code division multiple-access techniques in optical fiber networks. II. Systems performance analysis," IEEE Transactions on Communications, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 824-833 , Aug. 1989. DOI: 10.1109/26.31182

  • Abstract: The performance characteristics for a variety of system parameters are discussed. A means of reducing the effective multiple-access interference signal by placing an optical hard-limiter at the front end of the desired optical correlator is presented. Performance calculations are shown for the FO-CDMA with an ideal optical hard-limiter, and it is shown that using an optical hard-limiter would, in general, improve system performance.
  • Citation: 1.0k+ [link]
  • Semantic Scholar: 46 Highly Influenced Papers

Byoungho Lee, "Review of the present status of optical fiber sensors," Optical Fiber Technology, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 57-79, Apr. 2003. DOI: 10.1016/S1068-5200(02)00527-8

  • Abstract: The current status of optical fiber sensors is reviewed. The optical fiber sensors have certain advantages that include immunity to electromagnetic interference, lightweight, small size, high sensitivity, large bandwidth, and ease in implementing multiplexed or distributed sensors. Strain, temperature and pressure are the most widely studied measurands and the fiber grating sensor represents the most widely studied technology for optical fiber sensors. Fiber-optic gyroscopes and fiber-optic current sensors are good examples of rather mature and commercialized optical fiber sensor technologies. In this paper, among the various fiber-optic sensor technologies, especially, technologies such as fiber grating sensors, fiber-optic gyroscopes, and fiber-optic current sensors are discussed with emphasis on the principles and current status. Today, some success has been found in the commercialization of optical fiber sensors. However, in various fields they still suffer from competition with other mature sensor technologies. However, new ideas are being continuously developed and tested not only for the traditional measurands but also for new applications.
  • Citation: 1.6k+ [link]

R. Essiambre, G. Kramer, P. J. Winzer, G. J. Foschini and B. Goebel, "Capacity Limits of Optical Fiber Networks," Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 662-701, Feb., 2010. DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2009.2039464

  • Abstract: We describe a method to estimate the capacity limit of fiber-optic communication systems (or fiber channels) based on information theory. This paper is divided into two parts.
    • Part 1 reviews fundamental concepts of digital communications and information theory. We treat digitization and modulation followed by information theory for channels both without and with memory. We provide explicit relationships between the commonly used signal-to-noise ratio and the optical signal-to-noise ratio. We further evaluate the performance of modulation constellations such as quadrature-amplitude modulation, combinations of amplitude-shift keying and phase-shift keying, exotic constellations, and concentric rings for an additive white Gaussian noise channel using coherent detection.
    • Part 2 is devoted specifically to the "fiber channel.'' We review the physical phenomena present in transmission over optical fiber networks, including sources of noise, the need for optical filtering in optically-routed networks, and, most critically, the presence of fiber Kerr nonlinearity. We describe various transmission scenarios and impairment mitigation techniques, and define a fiber channel deemed to be the most relevant for communication over optically-routed networks. We proceed to evaluate a capacity limit estimate for this fiber channel using ring constellations. Several scenarios are considered, including uniform and optimized ring constellations, different fiber dispersion maps, and varying transmission distances. We further present evidences that point to the physical origin of the fiber capacity limitations and provide a comparison of recent record experiments with our capacity limit estimation.
  • Citation: 1.8k+ [link]

K. O. Hill, B. Malo, F. Bilodeau, D. C. Johnson, and J. Albert, "Bragg gratings fabricated in monomode photosensitive optical fiber by UV exposure through a phase mask," Applied Physics Letters, vol. 62, no. 10, pp. 1035, 1993. DOI: 10.1063/1.108786

  • Abstract: A photolithographic method is described for fabricating refractive index Bragg gratings in photosensitive optical fiber by using a special phase mask grating made of silica glass. A KrF excimer laser beam (249 nm) at normal incidence is modulated spatially by the phase mask grating. The diffracted light, which forms a periodic, high‐contrast intensity pattern with half the phase mask grating pitch, photoimprints a refractive index modulation into the core of photosensitive fiber placed behind, in proximity, and parallel, to the mask; the phase mask grating striations are oriented normal to the fiber axis. This method of fabricating in‐fiber Bragg gratings is flexible, simple to use, results in reduced mechanical sensitivity of the grating writing apparatus and is functional even with low spatial and temporal coherence laser sources .
  • Citation: 1.4k+ [link]

Selected I2R Optical Fiber Research

Chun-Liu Zhao, Xiufeng Yang, Chao Lu, Wei Jin, and M.S. Demokan, "Temperature-insensitive Interferometer using a highly birefringent photonic Crystal fiber loop mirror," IEEE Photonics Technology Letters (PTL), vol. 16, no. 11, pp. 2535-2537, Nov. 2004. DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2004.835646

  • Abstract: Utilizing the high birefringence and the low-temperature coefficient of birefringence of the highly birefringent photonic crystal fiber (HiBi-PCF), a temperature-insensitive interferometer made from a HiBi-PCF fiber loop mirror (FLM) is achieved. For the wavelength spacing of 0.43 nm, a wavelength spacing variation with temperature of only 0.05 pm//spl deg/C, and a transmission peak shift of 0.3 pm//spl deg/C is demonstrated. The stability of the FLM is improved dramatically when it uses a HiBi-PCF, as compared to FLMs using conventional HiBi fibers.
  • PDF via polyu.edu.hk

Xueming Liu, Xiufeng Yang, Fuyun Lu, Junhong Ng, Xiaoqun Zhou, and Chao Lu, "Stable and uniform dual-wavelength erbium-doped fiber laser based on fiber Bragg gratings and photonic crystal fiber," Optics Express (OE), vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 142-147, Jan. 2005. DOI: 10.1364/OPEX.13.000142 [PDF via osapublishing.org]

  • Abstract: Based on fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) and high nonlinear photonic crystal fiber (HN-PCF), a novel dual-wavelength erbium-doped fiber (EDF) laser is proposed and demonstrated. Experimental results show that, owing to the contributions of two degenerate four-wave mixings in the HN-PCF, the proposed fiber laser is quite stable and two output signals are uniform at room temperature. With adjustment of the attenuator, our fiber laser can selectively realize one wavelength lasing.
  • This is an open access journal. [link]

Optical Fiber People

World Renowned Influential Optical Fiber Researchers

  • Sir Charles Kuen Kao (4 November 1933 – 23 September 2018)
    • Nobel Prize in Physics for groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication (2009)
      • Father of fiber optics [link]
      • Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease [link]
    • IEEE Life Fellow (1979)
    • IET Fellow
    • FRS Fellow (1997)
  • Gerd Keiser, Research Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University
    • IEEE Fellow for contributions to the development and evaluation of asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switches and fiber optic networks (1995)
    • SPIE Fellow (2012)
    • OSA Fellow for significant contributions to photonics education and applications through books, papers, university teaching, short courses, keynote speeches and industry work (2013)
  • more will be added


  1. Keiser, Gerd (2003, Apr. 15). Optical Fiber Communications. Wiley Online Library. DOI: 10.1002/0471219282.eot158
  2. Lim, Jun Long (2018). Design and analysis of solid-core microstructured optical fiber sensors for sensing surrounding refractive index and surrounding temperature. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
  3. Jun Long Lim, Dora Juan Juan Hu, Perry Ping Shum, and Yixin Wang, “Design and Analysis of Microfluidic Optical Fiber Device for Refractive Index Sensing,” IEEE Photonic Technology Letters (PTL), vol. 26, no. 21, pp. 2130–2133, Nov. 2014. DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2014.2349433
  4. n.d. (n.d.). History of Fiber Optics. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from timbercon

Read More on Optical Fiber

Optical Fiber Articles (Online)

  1. The Optical Society (2019, Oct. 30). Researchers use 3-D printing to make glass optical fiber preform. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from phys.org
    • Researchers used Direct-Light Projection (DLP) to make silica fiber preforms which in turn makes into optical fiber
  2. Mike Robuck (2019, Oct. 7). Verizon and NEC team up on distributed optical fiber sensing trial. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from FierceTelecom
    • Existing fiber optic cables are being used as distributed optical sensors to collect information for traffic monitoring. Artificial intelligence monitors measurement of vehicle density, direction, speed, acceleration and deceleration, and other information
  3. Wallace, John (2019, Oct. 18). NICT demonstrates a 1 petabit per second optical network node. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from LaserFocusWorld
  4. Bridget O'Neal (2019, Oct. 7). Single & Multimode Silica Optical Fibers Drawn from 3D Printed Preforms. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from 3DR Holdings
  5. n.d. (2019, Nov.). Quantum Entanglement Sent Over 50 Km of Optical Fiber. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from photonics.com

Optical Fiber Books

Keywords: fiber optics, optical fiber, glass fiber, I2R fiber optics sensor, I2R optical fiber sensor, specialty fiber, I2R FOS, NTU fiber optics sensor, I2R science, OFC, OFC

Tags: #OF, #FOS, #OFC, #OFS, #singapore